Since the pandemic, organizations around the world have had to shift to remote and hybrid work models fast–all while experiencing hypergrowth. We spoke with Sharon Koifman, the founder of Distant Job, about her thoughts on how companies can painlessly adjust to the new normal and successfully scale their remote teams.
Before the pandemic, 7 million people in the US worked remotely. Currently, with most businesses embracing the idea of location-independent people, this number has significantly increased. While remote work has become the ‘new normal,’ many companies still struggle to adapt to these changes. I have 10 years of experience managing a remote company. This is what I’ve learned about successfully scaling a remote workforce.
Why hire remotely?
People no longer chase jobs or roles with the corner office in a plush building. The Future of Work is here, and people now chase roles that give them a better work-life balance and perks and benefits that align with their values and purpose. From the employer’s perspective, there are significant benefits that come with hiring people remotely:
- A huge cost-cutting move: According to a Global Workplace Analytics study, companies that hire remote employees can save up to $10,000 per person each year. Those savings go up to $100,000 for every person a company doesn’t have to relocate. So, while a remote team will save the employer some essential infrastructure costs, it’ll also promote a richer company culture of flexibility. The cost of living for a distributed team plays a big factor, too. For example, hiring a developer in the United States is typically more expensive for a startup than hiring a developer with a similar skill set in Slovakia.
- A larger pool of talent: When employers only hire locally, they could miss the opportunity to have an inclusive and diverse team. But when you expand your search, the talent pool becomes bigger and opens up opportunities for growth, potential partnerships, and sales avenues.
- Productivity: The biggest myth of remote working is that people will not be productive, or they’ll slack off their priorities or tasks. When companies give people the chance to work remotely in an environment where they feel more motivated, they work at their own pace. According to a survey by Airtasker, people working remotely take longer breaks (22 minutes) compared to people working on-site (18 minutes). However, those working remotely work an average of 1.4 more days every month and almost 17 more days per year than people on site.
Effective remote hiring strategies
I’ve seen many companies hire the wrong people for their remote teams and pay the price for it. A wrong hire doesn’t just waste essential resources. It also affects the morale of other people on the team. Before employers start looking for a remote candidate, follow these three strategies to help scale your team the right way:
Write a good job description
Create a clear and concise job description. Job descriptions should be attractive, with a small introduction to your company and its values, the kind of talent you’re seeking, and the responsibilities of the role you’re hiring for.
Search on the right platforms
Are you hiring a freelancer, a part-timer, or is this a full-time position? This is important because you’ll need to search for candidates in different places, depending on which type of contract you’re hiring for. These are some of the most effective places to recruit top talent:
- Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn, closed Facebook groups, and even some Instagram communities are unique platforms that can help you find new talent.
- Job boards: This is one of the most effective and efficient platforms because many candidates will appear if you write a good job description with attractive options. All you’ll need to do is handle the vetting process and the interviews.
- Remote recruiting agencies: If you want to hire remotely and fast, these agencies are probably the best way to hire remote talent.
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Host productive and constructive interviews
When hosting interviews, test the candidate’s technical skills to see if they have what it takes to handle the role’s responsibilities. Ask questions about previous experiences, their most significant challenges when working on a remote team, and what they learned.
Tips for hosting successful remote interviews:
- Prepare the interview questions (never improvise)
- Know what type of people you want to hire
- Look out for the soft skills (time-management, self-reliance, communication, etc.).
- Camera on!
Culture is probably one of the most important things you need to consider when scaling a remote team. People seek work environments that encourage people to grow professionally. If you want your people to value you, you’ll need to invest in improving your virtual workplace.
With my experience managing a remote team at DistantJob, I learned that culture goes beyond establishing your goals and company values. It’s about creating a virtual environment where everyone feels connected and valued.
Sharon Koifman is the founder of DistantJob, a remote staffing agency from Canada specializing in finding full-time remote developers.
From Shiran Yaroslavsky
Shiran Yaroslavsky is the VP Product US at Hibob. She is the former CEO and Co-founder of Cassiopeia (acquired by Hibob), a startup that helps managers lead teams effectively with data. Shiran is a thought leader in people analytics and remote team leadership. She was featured in 2019 in Forbes’ 30Under30 list in Israel.